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Ask Michael J, Esq. Your Own Question
Michael J, Esq.
Michael J, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3456
Experience:  Licensed Attorney - represented hundreds of clients in criminal cases, family law disputes, traffic issues, and general legal issues. Youth Court Prosecutor.
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Hello. I am divorcing my husband and he is not working right

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Hello. I am divorcing my husband and he is not working right now. We're are trying to do it through mediation, but it does not seem to be leading anywhere and he is dragging it out and just took out $8,000 out of our joint account without warning. I went to see a lawyer and was told to file for divorce immediately with said lawyer and pay a retainer, but to continue mediation. I am lost right now. I live in Massachusetts. What should I do?

SoloLawyer :

Hello - Thank you for contacting JustAnswer. My name is Michael; I look forward to helping you with your family law problem today.

Customer:

Hi Michael.

SoloLawyer :

If mediation is not working, the next logical step is to file for divorce.

SoloLawyer :

It's hard to say what you "should" do without knowing all of the facts. Remember, I'm here to give you as much info as I can about the process.

Customer:

But should I still be trying to make mediation work?

Customer:

Yes.

Customer:

How can I help you help me the best?

SoloLawyer :

Well, what is happening in mediation?

Customer:

What details do you need?

SoloLawyer :

You said it "wasn't leading anywhere" Why?

Customer:

We sort of came to an agreement ($80K I pay him over next 5 year), but then he started saying that he feels that he can't represent himself well and then came back saying he wants $125K in an ultimatum type of way.

SoloLawyer :

And the mediator didn't assist in meeting somewhere lower?

Customer:

Well he does not talk much at the mediator's office. Kind of stares blankly. The counter offer he game me in person.

SoloLawyer :

Thanks. You just need to play it by ear. If you don't think mediation is working, go ahead and file, and you can still work on mediation in the mean time.

SoloLawyer :

That sounds like a pretty solid option.

Customer:

Lawyer says I need to do it right away or we might lose another month, but that he (husband) will get spousal support and it will set a precedent. I am scared.

Customer:

I don't think he deserves anything, but this is not how law works, I understand.

Customer:

Do I need to do this right away if mediation seems to be a dead end?

Customer:

$3000-5000 she said (lawyer)

SoloLawyer :

If it's a dead end, filing seems like the next logical step, but again you need to speak with a local attorney about it (which it sounds like you already have - and that is what was advised)

Customer:

(For retainer)

Customer:

So how does it work? I was a bit lost to ask all of the questions. Help me understand it. I file for divorce and pay the lawyer, plus I continue to pay the mediator?

SoloLawyer :

If you think mediation will work, yes, you keep paying. If you agree to the terms in mediation, that saves you money in the divorce, because you don't have to litigate it. You just both agree and the divorce is final.

SoloLawyer :

If you don't agree through mediation, the divorce costs quite a bit more.

SoloLawyer :

The whole point of mediation is to save you money in the long run.

Customer:

Yes. But there is no way to hold a person to there word or iven what was agreed to it seems.

Customer:

We're on a 10 year mark of our marriage.

SoloLawyer :

The mediation just helps you get to agreed terms. It would not be binding. If you don't think he'll agree, just file. You're wasting money otherwise.

SoloLawyer :

Mediation saves you both money, so it's in both your interests to do so.

Customer:

Well he has only what I have, so I guess he had no vested interest...

Customer:

So then for divorce it's just what the guidelines on our state are? He gets 3rd of the difference between our salaries for half of our marriage? What does lawyer do then?

SoloLawyer :

In a contested marriage, the lawyer does quite a bit. He files the divorce, makes sure the financial statements are correct, performs discovery to make sure your husband is providing everything he needs to, and argues your case for the Judge.

SoloLawyer :

The guidelines are minimum. The Judge can go over and beyond them.

Customer:

Judge can award less than minimum?

SoloLawyer :

No. As I mentioned, I said over and beyond.

Customer:

Sorry.

Customer:

I am still getting a grip on the situation.

Customer:

So the best my lawyer can do is to get to the minimum guidelines?

SoloLawyer :

As far as what you pay for support, yes.

Customer:

Is there anything I should be doing now except filling for divorce and see if there is a point in continuing mediation?

SoloLawyer :

The only other thing I could suggest is to protect your joint account and make sure he doesn't take more than he already has.

Customer:

I have put a freeze on everything I could think of.

SoloLawyer :

Sounds good. The next step is to go back and talk to your local attorney about filing.

Customer:

I changed the locks in out house too. (I am renting him an apartment)

Customer:

Don't know even if I can change the locks in the house according to law ((

Customer:

But I was a little scared.

Customer:

Both of our names are XXXXX XXXXX lease.

Customer:

But I am rambling.

SoloLawyer :

You can change them. And he can break in a window.

Customer:

He can?

SoloLawyer :

Sure. It's his property.

Customer:

ok

SoloLawyer :

Does that answer all of your questions?

Customer:

I don't know. But I don't have any more I can think of right now. Thank you for your help.

Customer:

Where do I pay?

SoloLawyer :

I'll follow up with you in a couple weeks to see how you're doing.

SoloLawyer :

All you need to do is click the Rate button (and I hope it's a good one). I believe you've already paid.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

Have a good evening

SoloLawyer :

You too!

SoloLawyer :

If I can answer anything further, let me know. Remember, I'm here to help and your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you don't have any questions and you valued my time, I'd ask you to consider rating me positively.

Take care,

Michael

SoloLawyer :

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